National Researcher – Economic Opportunities for Youth, Lao PDR

Location : Vientiane, LAO PDR
Application Deadline :21-Jun-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :30 working days
Expected Duration of Assignment :June - September 2021

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


“Human development is about people, about expanding their choices to live full, creative lives with freedom and dignity. Economic growth, increased trade and investment, technological advance – all are very important. But they are means, not ends. Fundamental to expanding human choices is building human capabilities: the range of things that people can be. The most basic capabilities for human development are living a long and healthy life, being educated, having a decent standard of living and enjoying political and civil freedoms to participate in the life of one’s community.”1
For more than a decade, national and regional Human Development Report (HDR) teams have been helping to advance the human development conceptual framework and apply it to the most pressing development challenges of the day. Now published in over 135 countries, these reports, grounded in thorough analytic research, have become dynamic advocacy tools. They are helping to generate lively debates around the policies and actions needed to accelerate human development and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Lao PDR has so far produced five NHDRs. The latest NHDR, published in 2017, explored the development challenges in the Lao PDR in the context of a Least Developed Country. The report identifies policy recommendations for the country in preparing for the graduation from the LDC status by 2024. One of the key challenges was that Lao PDR had a relatively low level of human capital. For instance, compared to the ASEAN countries, Lao PDR’s workforce is “the least literate and numerate”. With the young population expecting to increase in the coming years, addressing these issues will require careful assessment in order for the country to gain benefits from the so-called “Demographic Dividend”. The demographic transition will have significant implication for Lao PDR provided that appropriate policy interventions are implemented to improve the skills of workforce to provide more and better-paying job opportunities to the skilled workforce. To this end, investing in human capital must be accompanied by creating better business enabling environment for the private sector.
The theme for NHDR 2021 focuses on harnessing the potential of youth and their roles in supporting the country to achieve the national development plan by 2025, a smooth transition from LDC graduation by 2026, and sustainable development goals in 2030. Four areas are identified: 1) the role of youth engagement in the national planning development process; 2) human resource requirements and skill development allowing for demographic dividend to be realised; 3) economic opportunities for youth, including social protection, labour migration, and the role of technology and innovation supporting youth empowerment; and 4) understanding social norms and social problems that pose barriers for youth to becoming productive and responsible members of the society. The report will also consider the impacts of COVID-19 on youth development across the selected thematic chapters, including how it has been disrupting the education and employment opportunities. (for detail, see the Draft NDHR 2021 Concept Note).

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of key functions:
Under the direct guidance and supervision of the UNDP and the Centre for Policy Development Research (CDR), the National Consultant is in charge of the preparation of selected chapters identified in the concept note. She/he provides assessment of and recommendations on youth development in one of the following fields: 1) the role of youth engagement in the process of national development; 2) youth empowerment through skill development and technological innovation; 3) economic opportunities for youth, for realising the demographic dividends; and 4) understanding social norms and social problems that pose barriers for youth to become productive and responsible members of the society. The objective of the assignment is to prepare background papers of the NHDRs chapters on harnessing the potential of youth and their roles in supporting the country to achieve the national development goals. The main tasks and responsibilities of the national researcher will be to:
- Conduct research and analysis for the selected chapter/theme. The consultant is responsible for supporting data collection, as required, through various channels. The secondary data such as the most recent Lao Expenditure and Consumption Surveys and the Labor Force Survey will be made available by UNDP/CDR.
- Hold consultations and seminars on the theme and related issues. The consultant will support the consultation process, which is an essential part of the NHDR, through conferences, ad hoc meetings, workshops, brainstorming sessions, focus groups, interviews, and so on, with people in various groups identified by rural or urban location, age, gender, socio-economic status and so forth.
- Address the specific theme and related issues. The consultant will be required to conduct interviews and surveys to capture the perspectives of people dealing with the issues analysed in the HDR as part of their daily lives. (Also include those youth population who may traditionally be excluded such as women, the poor, ethnic minorities, inhabitants of remote communities, children, the elderly, people living with HIV/AIDS, the disabled and so on.
- Based on the evidence gathered from various sources, develop appropriate chapter conclusions.
- Produce clear, concrete and practical recommendations. Each recommendation should include a description and analysis of the basic intervention strategy, list the agencies that would implement the strategy and address the likely financing and other resource needs.
- Ensure the practical approach to proposed recommendations. The value of the recommendations will depend on the comprehensiveness of the perspectives of the contributors to the analysis, the clarity of the analysis, the practicability of their introduction and the soundness of the consideration of alternative policies.

UNDP is looking for National Researcher to undertake the following assessments on:

  • Analyze the structure of economy whether high economic growth in the past has helped generate sufficient employment for the young? Discuss the economic performance of the country and see whether economic growth is matching growth in productive employment, what types of employment opportunities are generated and what the challenges are.
  • Analyze employment and unemployment according to regions, urban vs. rural, gender, population groups as well as to employment sector to better understand the type and quality of employment
  • Technology adoption: Related to employment and entrepreneurship, the role of technology and ICT can be explored. Fostering knowledge of and access to ICT can empower youth in pursuing creative entrepreneurship and employment.
  • Assess the enabling environment for promoting youth entrepreneurship
  • Analyze how financial literacy, experience and the availability of resources play a role, as does trust in the economic and financial system, including the enabling environment, with legislation, institutional management, access to land, credit and information.
  • Other economic opportunities to be considered in the chapter: youth migration, youth poverty, social protection for young workers.
  • Analyse how COVID-19 has impacted the employment landscape and the future of work in Lao PDR.


  • Demonstrates commitment to human development principles and values.
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability
  • Shares knowledge and experience
  • Provides helpful feedback and advice
  • Strong statistical and analytical skills
  • Plans and produces quality results to meet established goals
  • Generates innovative, practical solutions to challenging situations
  • Conceptualizes and analyzes problems to identify key issues, underlying problems, and how they relate
  • Demonstrates substantive and technical knowledge to meet responsibilities and post requirements with excellence
  • Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities
  • Responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view

Required Skills and Experience

  • Advanced degree in economics, public policy, development studies, social sciences or related fields.
  • At least 5 years of relevant experience in the academia or research institutions, with a focus on socio-economic analysis, experience with gendered analysis and the development of composite indices, and youth policy.
  • Relevant working experiences in conducting policy research, participating in, organizing, and quality controlling policy research and debates and conducting policy advocacy; experiences in preparing HDRs/NHDRs are assets.
  • Sound knowledge and understandings of Human Development concepts and approaches as experiences in applying these to policy questions as well as on HDR/NHDR processes.
  • Experience with preparation of regional or national HDR will be highly desirable;
  • Good understanding of Lao political and economic context is an asset;
  • Excellent command of English and working knowledge of Lao language will be advantageous but not required.

Requirements for submission of proposals:

All interested and qualified International or National Independent Consultant should apply on-line using the following links:

UNDP Lao PDR Country Office website at  or 

In order to make your submission, please read the relevant documents available on the link below

  1. IC General Terms and Conditions _ Annex II;
  3. P11 Form

Documents to be included when submitting the proposals:

Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications:


(i)         Explaining why you are the most suitable for the work;

(ii)        Providing a brief methodology on how you will approach and conduct the work including the work schedule for the delivery of outputs/deliverable;

        2. P11 Form  Education and work experience, including past experience in similar projects and contact references of at least 3 references for whom you have rendered preferably the similar services;

       3. Financial proposal:  Detailed financial proposal: Lump sum offer with clear cost breakdown against each deliverable.

Note: The financial proposal shall specify a total lump sum amount, and payment terms around specific and measurable (qualitative and quantitative) deliverables (i.e. whether payments fall in installments or upon completion of the entire contract). Payments are based upon monthly outputs, i.e. upon delivery of the services specified in the TOR.  In order to assist the requesting unit in the comparison of financial proposals, the financial proposal will include a breakdown of this lump sum amount (including travel, per diems, and number of anticipated working days). All envisaged travel costs must be included in the financial proposal. UNDP accept travel costs not exceeding of an economy class air ticket.

Instructions for on-line submissions:

  1. Step 1:  Please prepare all required documents electronically;
  2. Step 2: Combine all documents in ONE SINGLE FILE (preferably in PDF however Word format can be also accepted) and upload to the UNDP Jobs using the links above;
  3. Step 3: After that you will receive an auto reply from the UNDP jobs if your offer is received successfully.


Incomplete proposals or proposals received after the deadline will be rejected.

Please kindly refer to the Terms of Reference Annex I for detailed information on:

Project’s background

Scope of work and Responsibilities


Requirements for Experience and Qualifications

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